Red Tea Box
The Red Tea Box is a teashop and lunch spot on Queen West that's been around for about a decade. In addition to their vast tea selection, they offer a number of unique desserts, various tea accessories, and a full service kitchen, though they don't serve dinner or booze.
The front of the shop displays a centre table filled with detailed desserts and delights, such as elaborate wedding and specialty cakes. There's a double-tier flowerless (gluten free) orange almond apricot cake, chocolate hazelnut toffee cake, chocolate fudge spice cake, and vanilla rose petal white chocolate cake (very popular I'm told). As you'd expect, some of their desserts are even infused with tea, such as their Maccha cheesecake (Maccha is fine powdered green tea).
Loose-leaf tea here is a little pricier than other stores (Davids, Tea Empoirum etc.), as cups-to-go sells for $4.75. Two ounces of their loose-leaf tea usually sell between $12-21. Their tea selection is available at the front of the store, most of it stored in an antique Chinese medicine chest that sits by the cash.
Other drinks on the menu include a Hot Spicy Chai ($5.75) and Mauled Cranberry Ginger Pear ($5.75).
The Red Tea Box also offers afternoon tea and tea bentos which are bento boxes of food accompanied by a pot of tea. Their Southeast Asian Tea Bento is served with kaffir lime tartlets w/ mango curd, matcha cheesecake, spiced salmon burgers w/ pineapple & herb salsa & pulled chicken and mushroom taro croquettes. Other lunch options include soup (pumpkin and ginger), sandwiches (spiced Indian chicken) and salads (quinoa crusted salmon).
While there are a couple places to sit at the front of the store, I would choose to sit in their back courtyard, which is a beautiful space filled with several tables of tea drinkers and schmoozer's. Beyond this, there is a separate coach house-type space with even more seating. This room is dressed with antique furniture and art. Cliché as it may be, it's perfect for an afternoon tea.
Some of their eclectic accessories include various tea trays, cups, saucers, tea cozys (these cover your tea pot for warmth), and unique utensils such as their 'Maccha Bowls' which are for grinding tea, and Vietnamese Lacquers which are boxes or trays for holding tea. Many of their accessories are handmade pieces imported from Vietnam, Thailand and Morocco.